The best SLR cameras in the UK 2023

When it comes to digital cameras, photography enthusiasts will inevitably tell you that SLRs are the best. It's not surprising that their performance places them above the rest. But it's not so easy to find your way around the multitude of models and lenses available. Don't panic, read our guide and you'll know which SLR cameras stand out this year.

Canon EOS 800D 1

Best value for money

Canon EOS 800D

The best SLR camera in 2021

The features of the Canon EOS 800D are quite decent. This responsive and versatile SLR camera produces quality images. You'll probably find it performs better. But it's still an excellent entry-level camera.

649 £ on Amazon

The EOS 800D is an SLR camera with a smaller and faster lens, the EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. There is actually also a slight increase in video recording performance compared to the previous version of the DSLR. The Canon EOS 800D does not offer 4K video. On the other hand, it can shoot in Full HD at 50/60 fps.

While the EOS 800D sports the same 24.2MP resolution as the 750D it replaces, the sensor has been overhauled and uses the same technology we find on a high-end model like the Canon EOS 80D. Canon has equipped this SLR with a decent AF system, moving from the 19-point AF system in the older, less expensive models to the 45-point AF present on the EOS 80D and 90D.

The Canon EOS 800D may be designed for beginners, but it incorporates some of Canon's latest imaging technology, including a Digic 7 processor, a higher ISO range (up to ISO 25600 without extension), 6 fps continuous shooting, and a reasonable buffer capacity of 27 raw files.

Nikon D3500 2

Best value for money

Nikon D3500

The best entry-level SLR camera

When we talk about Canon, Nikon is never far! In the same vein as the D7500, but 4 times cheaper, the Nikon D3500 is a very good semi-professional SLR. The supplied AF-P DX 18-55 f/3.5-5.G lens is aimed at beginners.

479 £ on Amazon

The Nikon D3500 is a semi-professional camera. Its lightness will be extremely useful to ensure an effective handling and successful shots. The use is easy in auto mode, but it will not necessarily be within the reach of a beginner photographer. It takes time and practice to appreciate and exploit its potential as it should.

A little fragile, this SLR camera can however boast a formidable efficiency. The choice of lenses is very large for this kind of cameras. If you don't have one yet, we recommend you to buy it with the AF-P DX 18-55 f/3.5-5.G. For the photo enthusiasts, you should add a 35 mm wide aperture j/1.8 fixed lens as well as the beautiful Tamron 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 VC.

Despite its entry-level positioning, the Nikon D3500 will rarely disappoint you. And for the price, there are cheaper, but not necessarily better.

Nikon D780 3

Best high end

Nikon D780

The best high-end SLR camera

The Nikon D780 replaces the D750, one of the most complete digital SLRs ever created. Still built around the 24.5MP sensor and an AF 51 system, this one is even more powerful!

2 159 £ on Amazon

The Nikon D780 is a well-built SLR camera with impressive weather resistance and intuitive handling. We regret the somewhat boxy design, but that is anecdotal. Indeed, the D780 uses a BSI CMOS sensor and a focusing system that combines DSLR and mirrorless technology. When shooting through the viewfinder and the 51-point Multi-CAM 3500FX II autofocus system are identical to the D750, except for the "improved algorithms".

This model is designed for both stills and video. By today's standards, its 24.5MP resolution is about the basic specification for a full frame camera, but it promises a high level of detail combined with better high ISO performance than you'd expect from a very high resolution camera. Good to know, the Nikon D780 cuts costs for avid photographers. Finally, it allows the capture of 4K video that is not cropped and downsampled from 6K data capture.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II 4

Professional reflex

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

A great SLR for advanced users

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a full frame reflex camera that will please professionals. The informed amateurs and the passionate persons of photography will also find their account there. Beginners please refrain.

1 359 £ on Amazon
Buying guide • November 2023

Best reflex camera

Any specific needs?

The best SLR camera in 2021

The best entry-level SLR camera

The best high-end SLR camera

A great SLR for advanced users

Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best SLR cameras

Canon EOS 800D 5
Nikon D3500 6
Nikon D780 7
Canon EOS 6D Mark II 8
Canon EOS 800D
Nikon D3500
Nikon D780
Canon EOS 6D Mark II
The features of the Canon EOS 800D are quite decent. This responsive and versatile SLR camera produces quality images. You'll probably find it performs better. But it's still an excellent entry-level camera.
When we talk about Canon, Nikon is never far! In the same vein as the D7500, but 4 times cheaper, the Nikon D3500 is a very good semi-professional SLR. The supplied AF-P DX 18-55 f/3.5-5.G lens is aimed at beginners.
The Nikon D780 replaces the D750, one of the most complete digital SLRs ever created. Still built around the 24.5MP sensor and an AF 51 system, this one is even more powerful!
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a full frame reflex camera that will please professionals. The informed amateurs and the passionate persons of photography will also find their account there. Beginners please refrain.
26 MP full-frame CMOS
EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon
Nikon AF-P DX 18-55 f/3.5-5.G
Nikkor AF-S 24-120 f/4 VR
Dual Pixel CMOS AF Canon
Video resolution
Full HD 1080p
Full HD 1080p
Full HD 1080p
Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth
Bluetooth, micro USB, mini HDMI
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth
Battery life
600 clicks
1550 clicks
2260 clicks
1200 click

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Buying guide - reflex camera

Primary Item (H2)Sub Item 1 (H3)

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How to choose your reflex camera

#1 - The sensor

As we have just explained to you,it is the main criterion of differentiation between the reflex cameras. Each sensor has its advantages and disadvantages. All SLR cameras offer CMOS or APS-C sensors. The resolution of the sensors makes all the difference. The 36 and 50 Mpx sensors offer little versatility to an SLR camera. In addition, their ISO rise is not really top. The best choices in terms of sensors are the 20 and 24 Mpx.

#2 - The screen

All the reflex cameras worthy of the name are equipped with a screen. It allows you to view the subject to be captured and frame it before shooting. Since SLR cameras are known for their weight and size, opt for a tilting or even swiveling screen for more comfort of use. If the screen is touch-sensitive, it's even better! Indeed, this type of screen allows you to take a picture by pressing directly on it without using the shutter release.

#3 - The available lenses

The big advantage of SLR cameras is that they offer bodies with interchangeable lenses. Thus, the same body can at the same time make landscape photos, portraits, sports photos, artistic photos, etc. The choice of lens depends mostly on what you plan to do. Each brand uses its own lenses. However, it is possible to adapt them with a ring. Some kits come with one or even more lenses. But most of the time, you have to buy them separately.

#4 - The stabilizer

Most professional and amateur SLR cameras have a built-in 5-axis stabilizer. If the model you're after doesn't have one, you'll need to get one. Without one, small movements you make while shooting, camera movements, and any event that causes you to react abruptly may blur the photos.

#5 - The video quality

SLRs don't just take pictures. You can also capture video with them. The formats vary depending on the brand and the product range. Most of the time, we find the 1080 p HD format. But some models allow recordings in 4K. In all cases, the renderings are superb and have nothing to envy to digital cameras.

#6 - The burst mode

It varies a lot depending on the boxes and their price. Some models have a burst speed below 5 fps. For others, it is between 5 and 8 frames /s. The fastest models go up to 10 frames / s, or even beyond. It should be noted, however, that a high burst mode does not guarantee perfect shots. This is especially indicated for sports or nature photos, to capture a moving subject.

#7 - The resistance

This criterion has its importance given the price you have to pay for an SLR camera. Indeed, it would be a shame to lose all the money invested in the purchase of a camera because it is too fragile. It is preferable to choose a solid body, resistant to dust, humidity, and even extreme temperatures.

#8 - The ISO sensitivity

This criterion is defined as the measurement of the light sensitivity of the digital sensor. For proper exposure, it is important to know the sensitivity level of an SLR camera. Generally, the ISO sensitivity level is increased for low light photographs, to create intentional noise in a photo to compensate in case the amount of light entering the camera needs to be reduced. This criterion is defined as the measurement of the light sensitivity of the digital sensor. For a correct exposure, it is important to know the sensitivity level of an SLR camera. In general, we increase the ISO sensitivity level for photographs in low light, to create voluntary noise in a photo to compensate for the need to reduce the amount of light entering the camera.

How does an SLR camera work?

Nowadays, we do everything to have memories and photography is one of them. It's not just any photo, but a high quality photo. To meet this need, we need an SLR camera.

In fact, the SLR camera keeps every specificity of the image which means that everything you see in the viewfinder is exactly what will be photographed like the brightness. In general, all SLR cameras are made in the same way.

But what characterizes these cameras is that they allow you to aim through the lens. You can ignore using the viewfinder by using the SLR camera as a smartphone, the picture is always well framed. You just need to hold the SLR camera at the tip of your finger without stretching even if you are in a difficult or delicate place.

Thus, you should know that the SLR camera has a specific sensor, which allows you to increase or decrease the quality of the image or photo from small to large. Then, you should also know that when you put an SLR camera in speed priority mode, you must also adjust the shutter speed of the digital sensor by the mechanical shutter.

The battery consumption is much lower because of the mirror system for this SLR camera. Not to mention that the use of essential accessories such as filters and flashes is part of the operation of the SLR camera.

The different types of SLR cameras

The type of SLR camera is conditioned by the combination "body / lenses" that you choose.

SLR cameras for beginners

These are certainly the cheapest SLR cameras available. They have many of the same features as the pro models, but at a lower performance. The beginner models give much better quality pictures than a compact camera or a smartphone. But they are getting eaten alive by the best hybrids, whose performance is getting closer and closer to professional and mid-range SLRs.

Advantages :

  • Quality photos
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Affordable price


  • Lower performance
  • Beginner hybrids are easier to handle for similar performance

SLR cameras for amateurs


an SLR can quickly become a real headache. An SLR for amateurs even more so. Unlike beginners, amateurs are sophisticated users and therefore more demanding. They need to consider the brand, features and technical specifications. Today, a new SLR for amateurs is traded at over 1,000 euros. This type of camera, also considered semi-professional, is without question the most versatile, offering great flexibility of use both indoors and outdoors.


  • Versatility
  • Performance
  • Photo quality


  • Price
  • Most lenses are sold separately
  • Not suitable for professional use

SLR cameras for professionals


is the ultimate. Professional SLRs are almost perfect. Offering stunning features and image quality unmatched by even the best hybrid cameras, these cameras also stand out for their far-from-affordable price. Their versatility is far superior to that of amateur SLRs. Whether they are full frame or APS, professional SLRs will please those who want impeccable shots in all places and at all times.


  • Quality of photos
  • Best cameras on the market


  • Very high prices
  • Weight
  • Complex handling

SLR cameras for sports photography


are not really dealing with a type of SLR camera per se, but rather a range of cameras with very high bursts. The ISO rise of this type of SLR camera is good, even excellent if you have an unlimited budget. The autofocus tracking is also excellent. But the most amazing thing is the bursts of 7 to 12 frames/s, enough to easily capture moving subjects. Note, however, that for successful sports photos, you will need to invest in appropriate lenses.


  • High bursts
  • High quality photos

Disadvantages :

  • Price of the camera
  • Price of the lenses
  • A stabilizer is required

SLR cameras for portraits

Please consider

a 50mm, f/1.8, or 85mm lens for portraits. Brands like Nikon and Canon offer both high-performance bodies and affordable lenses, unlike SLRs for sports photography. Both pro and amateur cameras are suitable if you want to shoot portraits. It is advisable to choose a camera that is not too expensive so you can then invest in the best portrait lenses.


  • Quality of the portraits
  • Several lenses available

Disadvantages :

  • Price of the camera
  • Price of lenses
  • Unsuitable for nature or city photography

SLR cameras for landscapes


and Canon offer versatile models for this type of SLR camera. The bodies are pro or semi-pro, the choice will depend mostly on your budget. However, the semi-pro bodies offer the best results. The Nikon D810 and D750, or the Canon 5D Mark III and IV, or even the Pentax K-1 are the most suitable models. Their versatility and image quality will do wonders. Note that not all 36 or 50 Mpx sensors allow you to go up in ISO. Opt for cameras equipped with 20 or 24 Mpx sensors.


  • Versatile
  • Quality photos

Disadvantages :

  • Price

SLR or hybrid camera?

Reflex camera

A reflex camera is more responsive than a hybrid. Thanks to the larger size of its sensor, the images you get are more detailed and clearer. The real positive point of this type of APN is that it can take a continuous shot. In addition, its shutter feedback is fast enough to provide a live image and see in the viewfinder what is happening.

However, there are a couple of downsides. First, an SLR camera weighs more than a hybrid camera. Secondly, it requires more delicate maintenance, not to mention the price of accessories, especially lenses. A simple oversight can affect its operation as well as the quality of your photos. And the use of an SLR camera is not for the average person.

Hybrid camera

This digital camera has large sensors, manual controls and interchangeable lenses. The hybrid camera is also quieter, as it has no mirror. In addition, it has quality electronic viewfinders, which gives a live preview of how the images will be recorded. Thus, one of the important features of this camera is that it is more compact than other cameras.

The small size of the hybrid compared to the SLR makes it appealing to those who travel light. On the other hand, the battery life is quite low because of the continuous power supply to the LCD screen and the viewfinder. So you have to recharge it after taking an average of 300 pictures. In addition, it is often prone to red dot patterns that are widely visible when you shoot in the presence of sunlight.


These 2 types of cameras guarantee quality shots. However, the hybrid camera will be more discreet and more comfortable. As for the SLR camera, it benefits from a greater reactivity, being ready to photograph in a few seconds.

Why buy an SLR camera?

<img loading="lazy" class="aligncenter wp-image-85532 size-large" src="" alt=" width="720" height="458" srcset=" 720w, 350w, 768w, 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></p>
<p>The SLR camera is the ultimate in digital cameras. It must be said that it has many advantages</p>
<h3><strong>For interchangeable lenses</strong></h3>
<p>Despite the price, DSLRs are still the most economical way to go if you want a camera with lenses AND a viewfinder. A successful photo is primarily successful because of the lens and viewfinder used. The qualities of the camera come after. The advantage of SLR cameras is that each camera body can accommodate a large number of lenses, thus offering great versatility. It is even possible to use a lens and a body of different brands, thanks to an adapter ring. Note that all pro photographers use interchangeable lens bodies. Why not you?</p>
<h3>For instant shots</h3>
<p>Many digital cameras have a problem with the viewfinder lagging behind the situation being viewed. SLR cameras do not have this problem. In fact, their viewfinders are known to be the best out there, offering very high speed shooting. No need to worry about the subject being gone by the time the picture is taken. In burst mode, capturing with an SLR is instantaneous, allowing for very fast subjects to be captured in high definition.</p>
<h3><strong>For huge sensors</strong></h3>
<p>For marketing reasons, manufacturers always talk about a sensor's resolution, rarely about its size. In fact, on most cameras, brands always highlight resolutions in megapixels (18MP, 10MP, 20MP, 24MP, etc.). However, it is the size of the sensor that matters most. Indeed, it improves the quality of images in low light. And guess what? The largest sensors, full frame and APS-C, equip SLR cameras.</p>
<h3><strong>For sharp photos</strong></h3>
<p>Today's SLR cameras incorporate a 5-axis stabilizer that limits the risk of blurry photos. Indeed, the movements of the photographer greatly influence the quality of the photos taken. The integrated stabilizer corrects these movements for always sharp photos. Even the worst photographer will have a hard time messing up his shots with an SLR!</p>
<h3><strong>For ergonomics</strong></h3>
<p>This goes hand in hand with the built-in stabilizer. The bigger the body, the more manageable and easier to hold. And SLRs are not known for being compact cameras. Quite the contrary! Moreover, if the camera is big, the buttons will be more spaced out, because there will be more space to place them. This makes ergonomics better, adjustments easy and triggering a breeze!</p>
<h3><strong>To go pro</strong></h3>
<p>A photography enthusiast never uses a compact APN for their photos. This type of camera is reserved for casual photographers. For more credibility and for the sake of quality, an SLR is ideal. Some people will say that it is a show-off, they have the right to think so. But most of us buy a TV or a computer at several thousand euros without batting an eyelid because the price doesn't matter in view of the qualities. It's exactly the same for an SLR camera.</p>.


Buy multiple batteries.

Buy multiple batteries early on to avoid running out when you least expect it.

Adopt silent mode for your shots.

Silent shooting modes are now common on DSLR cameras, due to their increasingly sophisticated sensors. This can help you capture unforgettable moments without looking like you're intruding. Note, however, that entry-level SLRs don't yet have this feature.

Buy native lenses.

Native lenses are designed to work with your camera's autofocus system. Budget brands make excellent lenses today, and you might find some excellent ones that might work for your camera. However, with a native lens you could get much better results, and your shots will be easier.

Enable airplane mode.


if you have the most powerful battery in the world, remember not to waste your power. So, if you're going to be out in the country where you won't have a chance to charge your camera, consider turning on airplane mode. You would save several extra hours of shooting.

Your shirt is not a suitable cleaning cloth.


best way to remove dust or fingerprints from your camera lenses is to use a tissue, microfiber cloth, or special brush. Choose specific tools to clean your lenses, but not your shirt.


Would it be possible to shoot videos with an SLR camera?

Yes, all recent models now offer a video function. However, the SLR camera has its advantages. Its full frame sensors promise a remarkable image quality. You can shoot your movies in places with low light. However, you have to understand that these bodies do not offer auto-focus, which forces you to use still shots or adjust shaky blurs and remove imperfections only when editing.

In the camera field, what is called "mount"?

The mount is the element that allows thelens to connect to the SLR camera. In general, it is specific to each manufacturer. So you can't use it on other camera brands. For example, Sony's is called the A-mount, for Nikon you have the F-mount while Canon has its EF-mount. However, there are universal mount models.

What is the alternative to the SLR camera?

The hybrid remains the best alternative to the SLR camera as you will see above. It does not have a mirror in its body unlike the SLR. As a result, the light passing through its lens will be reflected immediately on the sensor. The body of this type of camera is relatively small, which makes it not very bulky.

How does an SLR camera resist to the weather?

The SLR camera that can withstand the weather is called "tropicalized". It is characterized by the presence of rubber seals allowing its waterproofing. Neither water nor dust will be able to get inside the body. You can also get waterproof lenses, grips and flashes if you want to take pictures by the pool, on the beach, in the rain, during windy weather...


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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Canon EOS 800D 9
Canon EOS 800D
Nikon D3500 10
Nikon D3500
Nikon D780 11
Nikon D780
Canon EOS 6D Mark II 12
Canon EOS 6D Mark II


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